Lausitz: Mercedes qualifying report

DTM Lausitz, Qualifying: First Pole Position for Albers Christijan Albers (DaimlerChrysler Bank AMG-Mercedes) will start Sunday's fourth round of the 2004 DTM at the Lausitzring from pole position. In Saturday's single-lap qualifying on a drying...

DTM Lausitz, Qualifying: First Pole Position for Albers

Christijan Albers (DaimlerChrysler Bank AMG-Mercedes) will start Sunday's fourth round of the 2004 DTM at the Lausitzring from pole position. In Saturday's single-lap qualifying on a drying track, Albers set a time of 1:45.026 and secured the top spot on the grid for the first time in his DTM career.

Mattias Ekström (Audi A4 DTM) was second fastest with a 1:45,511 ahead of Jean Alesi (AMG-Mercedes/1:49,417), who started earlier than Albers. Alesi used wet tyres rather than the Dutchman who started on slicks. Bernd Schneider (Vodafone AMG-Mercedes) qualified fifth fastest with a 1:51,998 whilst Gary Paffett (C-Klasse AMG-Mercedes) had a brief off and ended up seventh with a 1:55,385.

Four AMG-Mercedes C-Classes, four Opel Vectra GTS V8s and two Audi A4 DTMs made it into the single-lap qualifying. A gap of 14.867sec between pole position and tenth place demonstrated the dramatically changing conditions after a heavy rain just before qualifying.

After five minutes, the first session on a slowly drying track was interrupted for a short time due to cars parked in a corner's run-off area. Stefan Mücke (CLK AMG-Mercedes) was among the three drivers who managed a fast lap before that, however, after the re-start when the grip increased continuously the cars became faster lap by lap. In the end, Albers topped the time sheet with a 1:56.762, 0.862sec ahead of Alesi.

Markus Winkelhock (Original-Teile AMG-Mercedes) was the fastest driver with a last year's car. His time of 1:59.546 put him 13th for his first touring car race at the Lausitzring. Jarek Janis (Sonax Dark Dog AMG-Mercedes) who knows the track from testing here last summer was 15th with a 2:00.113 -- the best DTM qualifying result for the Czech. Stefan Mücke (CLK AMG-Mercedes/2:00.199) and Bernd Mayländer (CLK AMG-Mercedes/2:00.241) qualified 16th and 17th respectively.

Christijan Albers:

"I'm happy about my first DTM pole position. Today it was difficult to find the optimum line. In the middle sector my lap was perfect, however, on the entrance of the front straight it was still very wet and I lost some time. Fortunately I was able to maintain my advantage until the finish line."

Jean Alesi:

"During the single-lap qualifying the track became continuously faster and it was difficult to decide which tyres to use. Our team and I chose wet tyres, maybe, that would have been faster with slicks. Third place on the grid is still a good basis for the race."

Bernd Schneider:

"Unfortunately my fastest lap in qualifying was cancelled. Therefore I started the single-lap qualifying on the drying track fifth instead of second and was not able to use slicks as Christijan did. Otherwise a better starting position would have been possible."

Gary Paffett:

"I started the single-lap qualifying fourth when the conditions were still difficult. I wanted to improve, therefore I pushed a bit too hard and had a short off. Afterwards I had to be content with seventh."

Markus Winkelhock:

"I'm glad to be the fastest driver with a last year's car for the first time. A better time was possible, however, on three out of my four attempts I got stuck in traffic."

Jarek Janis:

"This was my first time with a touring car on a track as wet as today. First I had to get used to these conditions and I had to handle the car very gently to keep it on track."

Stefan Mücke:

"I drove three laps before the red flags came out, therefore I ran out of laps in the end of qualifying, when the track began to dry. Otherwise a better grid position would have been possible." "

Bernd Mayländer:

"A better time was possible, but I aborted my last and fastest lap due to the yellow flags."

Norbert Haug, Vice President Mercedes-Benz Motorsport:

"An exciting qualifying which saw all four C-Classes making it into the top ten. On a continuously improving track the fight for Super Pole was very close in the end. Our team headed by Hans-Jürgen Mattheis and Gerhard Ungar made the right decision with Jean Alesi on wet tyres to be on the safe side, and with Christijan Albers on slicks."

"As the fastest driver in the first session he was the last starter in qualifying and our joker. It worked, therefore congratulations to Christijan for his first DTM pole position. Starting the race first, third, fifth and seventh on the grid we have a good basis for Sunday. The spectators can look forward to an exciting race with four AMG-Mercedes C-Classes, four Opels and two Audis among the top ten."


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Series DTM
Drivers Jean Alesi , Bernd Schneider , Bernd Maylander , Christijan Albers , Norbert Haug , Mattias Ekström , Gary Paffett , Markus Winkelhock , Stefan Mücke , Gerhard Ungar , Jarek Janis